The Great Band of Iain’s

So this is the 9th July a Friday and Luke – the Young Strider heads back home from Beinglas via the only Taxi for 20 Miles around – you know the score – pre-book 6 weeks in advance and you might stand a chance – but only if he likes you . 😳😆 I’ve got into nightclub openings easier .

But this taxi is owned and driven by Iain #4 – (secret password exchanged and we’re in ) . It’s a numinous experience this week that the only time I’ve been bothered to ask for a name – it’s Ian or Iain ! N.B The word numinous is perfect for what I needed – and was given to me by my first born Thom – my generalissimo of wordage.💕💕

Well –today is THAT day – 30 km from Tyndrum to Kingshouse – i’m told it’s less “Goat Tracky” but hard on your feet as you start to follow the flint sharp 18th-century military roads by Thomas Telford – and if the weather is even slightly dodgy then the vast & lonely inspiring Heather Moonscape of Rannoch Moor without a single blade of shelter is a little more exposed than the average weekend adventurist expects!

Here’s what I face – no idea if I can make it on time for 3.00pm 😱

BUT ….. whoa – back up a bit . There’s a challenge to be met and proof to be shown. Where of course I’m going to meet a man who made a great claim to me last night. (Iain #3) . They say they’re just off my track as I start to climb out of Tyndrum . They are mixed band of wild campers, car sleepers and mobile home owners – so of course they’re early risers !

But look carefully and you will see Iain #3AlreadyAtWork– in a particularly productive Goldstream

And God bless him he offered me coffee as well as proof from his flask of both types

Complete with Midge net and waders
Today’s catch
Some mini nuggets from further north

And so –with proof and a fond farewell – I set off on my long track through the early morning –: my first waymark being the delightfully Tolkien named Bridge of Orchy. I hope the Orchs 😈 are friendly this morning!

There is an early morning mist and an amusing – very secure gate surrounded by absolutely nothing – leading nowhere – no fences – but asking that we “please close the gate” 🤣

But little did I know what inspiring sights would come as this almost “lost world“ emerges as the track ascends

There is no one on this Camino at this early hour and I feel privileged to be here

Bridge of Orchy is 15 km into this walk and if I can be there by 10 am – I am on schedule to meet Thom

I get to the bridge of Orchy by 10:30 am – got to be the most picturesque rail station. I need to get at least a 4.5 km average to be on time to make the meeting with my first born.

The climb out of the river valley from the bridge of Orchy enters into the wildest of spaces – Rannoch Moor

Where at a particularly idyllic lonesome spot I leave a wish stone for my lovely Roddy at a roadside Cairn

Deep down into the next valley there is the isolated and most pre-booked “18 months at least“ hotel – the Inverarnen country house hotel

Where if you’ve made it this far they ask you if you’d like to sign a board – which I duly did from both of us 💕

Climbing out of the valley I see the start of these renowned 18C Military roads .

Engineering visionary and genius – but his flinty roads (great for carts and artillery) – are tough going for” effete modern feet“ 😳

To the monumental isolated wide open spaces of Rannoch Moor

Where after several sweaty miles I found a resting place on a bridge side with several travellers I had met during the day as we overtook, stopped and overtook each other again. Drinks, protein , trail storys and snacks swapped and a couple of exchanged photos later – I moved on. 🙏

The Moor eventually, unbelievably finishes – with one eye on the clouds it’s (sort of) a relief to have crossed it.

90 minutes left on the clock and I’m in good time – heading for Glencoe and my destination for the day – hopefully be there waiting for Thom – it’ll be great to see him.

The track is now all downhill to Glencoe with a familiar thistle Trail sign
Getting closer.

Suddenly this dizzying, immense almost overwhelming “Glenscape” opens up – hard to believe this country has so much open space.

Just stunning! – However the really important bit is that tiny building in the distance – the Kingshouse Inn – my destination for the night. I’ve been fixating about a cold beer for at least two hours now 😁🍻😁🍻

Happy as a little hiking piglet – I’m here 40 minutes before Thom is due.

Just a teensy bit pleased to be here!
And at 3 pm precisely –after a 4 change train journey and a long cab ride courtesy of James ( “I’m the gopher not the gaffer” ) sent by Iain#4 – My companion for the next 4 days arrives. Big Hugs for my lovely Thom X
Strava steps in where the traitorous Fitbit failed me and shows at least some of the stats for the day

Night All


3 thoughts on “The Great Band of Iain’s

  1. Was kind of hoping you could have hooked some of them golden nuggets and brought them home. Bet that beer tasted good too.
    Much love hubster 😘 enjoy the trudge with Thom 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

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